Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The vagina obsession

Jan Tritten, editor of Midwifery Today, claims that having a C-section "instead of experiencing their highest calling to motherhood is an abomination."

I am struck by the passion, the histrionics, and absurdity of that statement, which leads me to ask: Why are homebirth advocates obsessed with the vagina?

Motherhood (for all women except adoptive mothers) includes 9 months of pregnancy. For all mothers it is followed by 18 years of childhood, then many additional years of being the parent of an adult child. In the entirety of motherhood, the actual birth takes up a tiny fraction of time. Tritten appears to be saying that having a baby pass through the vagina is women's "highest calling to motherhood." Why?

What is so special about a baby passing through a vagina? Why are these women obsessed with babies passing through vaginas? What does it have to do with motherhood? I thought motherhood was about caring for, raising and guiding a child. What difference does it make to anyone whether or not that child passed through the vagina? What difference does it make to a woman whether or not her children passed through her vagina?

If you look up motherhood in the dictionary, it says nothing about vaginas. If you look up mother in the dictionary, it also says nothing about vaginas. So why are homebirth advocates obsessed with the vagina?

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